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Back home and ready for hearing

/ 12:10 AM March 24, 2016

“I AM NOT in hiding, kuya,” restaurateur and junket operator Kim Wong told this columnist on the phone Wednesday.

Wong and this columnist have known each other for three decades, the reason why he addresses me  “kuya” (older brother).

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Wong is one of two Chinese businessmen the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) has charged in the Department of Justice with money laundering $81 million through the country’s financial system.

The huge amount was stolen by hackers from the account of the Bangladesh central bank at the New York Federal Reserve.

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Facing the same charge is Xu Weikang.

Wong called up this columnist to say he is attending the Senate hearing set  March 29 at 11 a.m.

He said he arrived on Philippine Airlines flight PR 510 at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday from Singapore where he had an executive medical checkup.

“Sasabihin ko lahat ng nalalaman ko, kuya. Wala akong itatagong sikreto (I will tell everything I know. I will not keep a secret),” he said.

Wong denies the allegation of Maia Santos-Deguito, Jupiter (Makati City) branch manager of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC), that he opened the accounts of four persons who turned out to be fictitious.

Deguito also claims Wong opened another account with RCBC-Jupiter for businessman William Go.

He and Go are friends, Wong admits, but he says that they have not seen each other for about 10 years.

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“Granting William Go withdrew part of the laundered money from RCBC, how come Deguito didn’t report the huge withdrawal to the AMLC?” Wong said.

He said the P1.374 billion, supposedly part of the $81 million that went to Solaire casino was brought in by one of his clients, a high-stakes gambler from China.

Wong, a big-time junket operator, hosts high rollers during their stay in the country.

He said the P1 billion that was wired to the account at  Eastern Hawaii Leisure Co. Ltd., which he owns, eventually ended up at the casino in Midas Hotel on Roxas Blvd., Manila.

Again, Wong said he had nothing to do with the money wired to  Eastern Hawaii Leisure because it was brought in by a Chinese gambler.

When I asked him why he reportedly uses many passports in his travels abroad, Wong said that they were investor passports in the Republic of Vanuatu, China and Taiwan.

“Please take note, kuya, that all those passports have only my name, Kim Wong, on them. If I were a criminal I would have had a different name for each passport,” he said.

*                              *                            *

Why Sen. Grace Poe should not be elected president was shown at the second presidential debate on Sunday.

Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte, a rival presidential candidate, asked Poe what she would do as president if she was roused from sleep after China had blown up two Philippine Coast Guard ships.

Poe said she would first get out of her bed!

The right answer would have been for her to convene the National Security Council.

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TAGS: casinos, Kim Wong, Money Laundering, news, RCBC
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